COMMENTARY | In what seems to be a broken record thus far this season, yet another San Francisco 49ers defensive linemen was injured against the Arizona Cardinals last week. Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, who was tasked with replacing Ian Williams as the 49ers' starter after the latter broke his ankle in Week 2, pulled up lame in the first half and didn't return to action.
He was replaced by reserve Tony Jerod-Eddie, who also went down for a few plays in the Cardinals game.
According to the 49ers' official website, Dorsey was a non participant at practice on Wednesday. This is an indication that he could be a game-time decision.
For what it is worth, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio doesn't believe the injury is as serious as they thought during the game. If Dorsey is unable to go against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Jerod-Eddie will take his place in the lineup with Demarcus Dobbs backing him up. After that, San Francisco literally has no depth along the interior of its defensive line on the 53-man roster.
Rookie Quinton Dial did return to practice this week, but was wearing a scout-team jersey. He's eligible to come off the inactive list. With that said, Dial, as well as the numerous 49ers' players who returned to practice this week, aren't likely to return until after their Week 8 bye.
If Dorsey is limited or unable to go against the Titans, it could impact San Francisco's run defense. While not nearly as stout against the run as Williams, it appears that Dorsey has improved in that aspect of the game in his first season with the 49ers. According to Pro Football Focus, Dorsey ranks 26th among interior linemen against the run this season. He's also racked up two sacks on the season.
Fortunately for San Francisco, the Titans rank 17th in the NFL in rushing offense at under 108 yards per game and 22nd in the league at 3.7 yards per attempt. In addition, Chris Johnson is the type of running back that the 49ers have had success against in the past. He likes to try to get to the outside, which will be a struggle with NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis closing off the edge in the run game. The 49ers then go up against a Jacksonville Jaguars rush attack that ranks dead last in the NFL at 60 yards per game and 2.6 yards per rush when they head to London for a Week 8 tilt.
This gives the 49ers a bit of time to address whether Dorsey's hamstring injury will linger into the second half of season and whether Dial will be able to make an impact as a rookie. If not, general manager Trent Baalke and Co. could look to address the situation on the free-agent market. The next two weeks against less-than-stellar rush offenses should give us a good idea where San Francisco stands heading into the stretch run. As of now, San Francisco doesn't seem to be overly concerned about Dorsey.
Vincent Frank has been covering the National Football League for three years. He started out writing for Niners Nation and was a featured columnist at Bleacher Report. His work has been published on CNN, Pro Football Focus and BR, among other sites.
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